It's fair to say that the news of the housing market is highly skewed and very biased in the mainstream. If food prices were spiralling out of control and many people in the UK couldn't afford to eat that would be a scandal. When house prices balloon out of all reality it's apparently okay.
Patrick Collinson imagines what house price stories might look like if Britain wasn't under the sway of estate agents: Fears grow of house prices spiral. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek but it does show how silly the British obsession on financial reality defying house price rises has become...
There are a couple of interesting house price ratios. The first is the ration of gross salary to house price, which in the UK is normally no more than 3:1 (salary:house price) as normally lenders will only lend a maximum of three times the gross salary of an individual.
The second interesting ratio is the ratio of annual rent to price of the house. A normal ratio is 14:1 (rent:house price). This is important because rental rates are more liquid/current than sale prices and so more accurately reflect the real price of a house, not the vendor's "dream" valuation.
On both counts UK house prices are still way over the normal level you would expect. Where I live a two bedroom house is available to rent for £8400 pa, giving a £117 600 sale valuation, a typical salary where I live would be £30k pa, giving a valuation of £100k (30x3 + 10% deposit). However you calculate the normal value of a property, it's an awful lot less than the the current asking prices of £180-200k. Is it any wonder that nothing is selling? and prices continue to fall...?
The green shoots are just the dandelions growing out of the ruins of the British economy and not the first signs of a recovery... For too long we didn't do anything useful but simply borrowed money and spent it like there was no tomorrow. Well tomorrow is here and it wants it's money back.
Maurice Saatchi has an interesting article in The Times: Blame this crisis on the myth of inflation. It is well worth reading, the Thatcherite lie of concentrating on a narrow and artificial measure of inflation is shown bare and Labour's "sound fundamentals" are just the same old tosh as the previous governments tosh.
I've done three batches of jam this spring. So far I've done a batch of champagne rhubarb, rhubarb and ginger and today a batch of rhubarb and orange marmalade. Recipes as previous years, though I did cut the sugar levels down this year as previous years have been very sweet and if you can increase the fruit levels it's worth it.
IE is one of the most hated browsers if you are a web designer. It's buggy, unreliable, incompatible between versions and very common. To be fair, after many years of neglect, Microsoft have upgraded it and version 7 and 8 are clearly much better than version 6. The problem is that most Microsoft users don't seem to have upgraded from 6 to 7 and almost no body is using version 8.
For most of this year the ratio of IE users to Mozilla Gecko based browser has been shifting strongly against Microsoft, with Firefox and IE now at equal billing as the most common browsers most of the time. If you factor in the other Gecko based browsers, then Microsoft is no longer the most common browser almost all the time.
It's clear than IE users are not upgrading to the newer versions even though they are better. It's also clear that Firefox will be the dominant browser to visit my site and indeed many more sites by the end of this year.
Of the other browsers Opera continues to struggle, which is a terrible shame as it's very fast, works on many systems and has a good security track record. The KHTML based browsers such as Safari, Chrome and Konqeror don't seem to be making headway either, of them Safari is clearly the most common and though backed by Google, Chrome is less common than Konqeror - which is odd as Konqeror is a Linux browser and Chrome is Windows based and there are far more Windows desktops than Linux ones.
Next year's aggregate statistic may show some striking differences with last years stats.